Foregoing conventional wisdom in wet conditions, the Metro squad adopted a pass-first approach Saturday in the 18th annual Baltimore Touchdown Club Senior All-Star game.
That decision, plus the accurate leg of River Hill kicker Alex Potocko, led the Metro team to a 15-7 win over the Baltimore group. The victory extends the Metro squad's series lead to 10-8, after losing the first three matchups from 1996 to 1998.
"It's a passing game. You've got talented skill kids," said Metro head coach Steve Turnbaugh, of Hereford. "We want to showcase these kids, and they're good enough kids that they can adapt to a new system."
Potocko made 5-of-7 field goal attempts, converting from 19, 22, 33, 40 and 42. He was named the Most Valuable Player, missing only from 43- and 33-yards. Teams were only allowed to rush kicks from the defensive end positions.
"I was thinking maybe I'll get a field goal or a few touchbacks," Potocko said. "I settled down, we had so much time, so I just let [the holder] put it down."
In the first quarter, Linganore quarterback Clark Stieren established the Metro team's passing game, slinging throw after throw and driving into the Baltimore red zone.
After an incomplete pass, Stieren rolled out and hit St. John's Catholic's Grier Wilson for a 33-yard gain.
He followed that with a 25-yard pass to South Caroll's Dan White a few plays later, which brought the ball to the 1-yard line. But the Metro offense was stymied three times, and settled for the 19-yard field goal.
That became a recurring storyline for the Metro team, which won despite scoring no touchdowns in six red zone trips.
"We only had eight practices, but we never had anyone there at any time," Turnbaugh said. "With the continuity, it's a passing game and you have to work with timing. You get into the red zone and sometimes you're not ready for that."
Baltimore quarterback Zach Abey, playing on his home turf at Archbishop Spalding, was responsible for the game's first touchdown, lofting a 53-yard pass to Omaryan White. The St. Mary's wide receiver had his man beaten down the left sideline and caught the ball with a wide open path to the endzone.
But Abey wasn't able to parlay his familiarity with the field into further success, as the Baltimore offense failed to score again
Baltimore's J'von Evans, of Mervo, applied pressure for the defense, sacking the Metro quarterback twice for losses of eight and five yards.
The Metro offense used wristband play sheets and went no-huddle, helping them push the tempo. Turnbaugh said the goal was to establish a fun atmosphere.
Turnbaugh did that, in part, by establishing a strange ritual. After announcing that he would retire as Hereford's coach after this season, he wanted to do some a little bit goofy for his last game.
"I tried to keep it light with the kids and have fun," Turnbaugh said. "I got them in and said, 'Here's my pre-game speech and I've got one word to say to you: Aflac!'"
M 3 3 3 6 -- 15
B 7 0 0 0 -- 7
M-River Hill K Alex Potocko 19-yard field goal
B-Archbishop Spalding QB Zach Abey 53-yard pass to St. Mary's Omaryan White (St. Mary's Jake Ellis extra point good)
M-River Hill K Potocko 22-yard field goal
M-River Hill K Potocko 33-yard field goal
M-River Hill K Potocko 42-yard field goal
M-River Hill K Potocko 40-yard field goal